Monday's snow marks earliest Ottumwa Public Works have had to lay down salt, sand

Monday's dusting of snow in Ottumwa marked the earliest time in the year the city's public works crew had had to head out and tend to the streets.

Public Works Director Steve Edgington said one crew went out Monday evening to put sand and salt on the Jefferson Street Bridge. Even though there wasn't much accumulation, it was more an issue of ice and slush that resulted from the rapidly dropping temperatures.

There's no way of predicting exactly how much salt will be needed and how many crews should be dispatched, so the department keeps an eye on the radar and forecasts as best they can.

"It basically is determined on surface of the street, how much precipitation we actually get," Edgington said. "The streets were fine last night, it was just the bridges with airflow underneath them and the river, it froze up the bridge pretty early."

Edgington added they still have about 600 tons of leftover sand from last year, as well as plenty of salt, so the department is well prepared for several major snow incidents before supplies get close to running low.